DISH Network Sued by Harbinger Over LightSquared - Analyst Blog

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Harbinger Capital Partners, the principal owner of the currently bankrupt 4G wireless wholesaler LightSquared Inc., has leveled charges against DISH Network Corp. ( DISH ) in a Colorado federal court. Harbinger has filed suit against DISH and its Chairman Charlie Ergen of at least $1.5 billion for allegedly attempting to take away Harbinger's control of LightSquared.

In May 2013, DISH had offered $2.22 billion to acquire 40 MHz of wireless spectrum held by LightSquared. Harbinger rejected DISH's bid stating that the latter had resorted to fraudulent means to enter the bidding process. Notably, both DISH and EchoStar Corp. ( SATS ), controlled by Charlie Ergen, are major competitors of LightSquared. DISH currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

In 2012, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had refused the use of this particular airwave as it was interfering with the global positioning system. Consequently, this had led to the bankruptcy of LightSquared. Later on, the FCC conducted several tests on the spectrum and eventually permitted an auction with a few modifications. Nevertheless, in Jan 2014, DISH dropped its plan of acquiring this spectrum.

In Dec 2012, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan allowed LightSquared Inc. to send a standalone bankruptcy plan to creditors for vote. This bankruptcy exit plan was supported by Fortress Investment Group LLC., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Melody Capital Advisors LLC. Meanwhile, Charlie Ergen accumulated about $1 billion of LightSquared's senior debt, which has potentially conferred on him the veto power over any proposal of Harbinger.

Last month, Harbinger formed a bankruptcy exit plan for LightSquared. According to the plan, the majority control of LighSquared will be in the hands of JPMorgan Chase & Co., Cerberus Capital Management LP and Fortress Investment Group LLC. Harbinger will control 12.5% of LightSquared while Charlie Ergen will be repaid for LightSquared senior notes he currently holds. However, Ergen has decided to challenge this plan in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan.

DISH, the second largest satellite TV operator in the U.S., has constructed an extensive wireless/satellite spectrum base over the last seven years. On Jun 17, 2013, DISH and NTELOS Holdings Corp. ( NTLS ) jointly started providing fixed-mobile broadband network to offer high-speed Internet service in several parts of the U.S. DISH further stated its intention of pursuing the acquisition of T-Mobile US Inc. ( TMUS ) only if Sprint Corp. ( S ) decides not to proceed with its takeover plan.


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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Business , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: DISH , TMUS , S , SATS , NTLS

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